Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The ABCs of Essential Oils: Mandarin

Citrus reticulata

Red, yellow, green...this is not a stop light, but a list of mandarin essential oils available to you. If you love citrus fragrances, you should add some mandarin essential oils to your collection. The mandarin oils are my favorite of the citruses, with a depth and uniqueness that stand out in this field of fruity oils.

Like other citruses, the essential oil is expressed from the peel. It is inexpensive for an essential oil, though more costly than some of the other citruses. While I think of it primarily in terms of perfumery, it's cost allows you to add some to bath and body products. Mandarin oil is GRAS (generally recognized as safe), so you can add it to lip balms. According to Tisserand (Essential Oil Safety, 2nd ed) mandarin essential oil from the fruit isn't phototoxic, so it is safe for use in products that will stay on the skin, like lotions and balms. However, mandarin leaf (mandarin petitgrain) essential oil is phototoxic.

The different varieties offer you a chance to fine tune your fragrance, since each one is a bit different. Sweet, tart, and a bit floral, mandarin will provide a fine top note to your perfumes. Mandarin allows you to add citrus that isn't immediately recognizable, while also smoothing the way between the citrus notes and your floral notes. Per Arctander, mandarin essential oils contain methyl-n-methyl anthranilate, which is what gives the oil it's neroli-like floral note.

Mandarin Petitgrain

Ho Wood

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